What Do Copepods Look Like?

There are over 13,000 species of Copepods! These species are divided into 10 orders, they are:

10 Orders of Copepods – Image Source: Sahar Khodami, J. Vaun McArthur, Leocadio Blanco-Bercial & Pedro Martinez Arbizu

Let’s take a look at few different specie from some of these orders – because trust me – these little ones are really cool to look at!

This is the Paracalanus parvus:

Paracalanus parvus – Image Source: Peter J. Bryant

It is from the Calanoida order and can be found pretty much anywhere in the world with the exception of the Artic. Check it out in action under a microscope:

This is the Harpacticoid Copepod:

Harpacticoid Copepod – Image Source: Peter J. Bryant

The Harpacticoid order includes ~3,000 species of copepods. They are benthic, which means that they hang out on the surfaces – in this case on the surfaces of sea ice where they graze on ice algae. They are found mostly in saltwater environments in the Artic and Antarctic Seas. Here is a different view of the top of their head from under a microscope:

Harpacticoid Copepod – Image Source: pwnell vuia Flickr

And a different side view of a female holding eggs:

Harpacticoid Copepod – Image Source: Gradinger/Bluhm

Now I’m not 100% sure as to which species these are, however, this video will show you a very close and detailed look at the transparent parts of their bodies. You can even see their internal organs at work:

This is the Cyclops copepod from the Cyclopidae order in the video below. At one point in the video – about half way through – you can see the napulii or baby copepods, hatching out of their eggs that are being held by their mother.

Pretty cool right? Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section below.

You can learn even more about these tiny sea critters in this video that I made awhile back here:

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